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Jade Sharma: Problems

Written on July 13, 2016 at 8:38 am, by

Kyle Lucia Wu interviews Jade Sharma about her new book and its focus on addition, prostitution, and the power of honesty and humor.

The White Center

Written on June 15, 2016 at 12:08 am, by

While neighborhoods are being redeveloped, their histories are being used to advertise their future. History has become a marketing tool. Make use of the past and create the future with it: this is familiar for a country whose national ideology is built on an endless cycle of self-invention.

I Didn’t Leave My Heart in Beijing

Written on June 15, 2016 at 12:08 am, by

The future of Beijing? That depends on the many currents running through the political seas of the country, and the world around it. Will it be the capital of the last communist country on earth? Will it be the capital of the wealthiest capitalist economy? Will some semblance of its former beauty return?

The Avenue of Faiths

Written on June 15, 2016 at 12:08 am, by

n the crowded bus there was an Iraqi woman who was utterly lost; she did not know where her hotel was. With their broken Arabic, the other riders managed to figure out where she was staying and told the driver. The driver, in turn, halted the bus right in front of the Iraqi woman’s hotel— the hotel of a woman from a country Iran had fought a bloody eight-year war with.

Bitter Almond Bushes

Written on June 15, 2016 at 12:08 am, by

Cape Town is blessed in the beauty pageant of luxury tourism. Hotels, swimming pools, golf courses, and gated playgrounds proliferate to pamper the wealthy. No bounty from the seductions of one of the world’s most vibrant, pluralistic cities is shared with the low-waged who make this wealth.

A Snowy Bogotá

Written on June 15, 2016 at 12:08 am, by

When I go back to Bogotá, I like to share my knowledge of the car bombs that went off in the city in the ’80s and ’90s. I helpfully point out the gory details to cab drivers and friends. I press my finger on the window and point at corners, “That’s the spot where an ATM blew up, seven dead.”

Another Independence

Written on June 15, 2016 at 12:08 am, by

It is already becoming clear that the efficacy of the old imperial strategy of “divide and rule”—caste against caste, religion against religion, temporary worker against permanent—is running out. The ability of India’s rural poor to endure cruelty is admittedly stupendous, but it is not, as their industrial overlords fondly believed, infinite.

New York, My Love

Written on June 15, 2016 at 12:08 am, by

The hospital is gone, another going, our clinic is gone, our local supermarket gone and another about to leave; a church, its school and active playground, are gone. Once people could live near where they worked, but now they can’t afford to and, in any case, where they worked no longer exists.

The Bubble

Written on June 15, 2016 at 12:08 am, by

During the difficult times that the bleeding Middle East as a whole and Israel in particular are enduring, times of religious fundamentalism, violence, racism, and despair, Tel Aviv has indeed been a bubble—a bubble that continues to draw to it many who still believe we can build a better future through action and not just through prayer.

The Boa’s Embrace

Written on June 15, 2016 at 12:08 am, by

The hyper-diversification of narco-capitalism will produce fantastic dealers, who, for interested parties, will offer tanks of oxygen, water for human consumption, and substandard drugs, the kind whose memory lives on for days in the form of jaw pain and bloodshot eyes.

Those Who Stay

Written on June 15, 2016 at 12:08 am, by

The government will finally run out of excuses and be forced to hold a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment, also known as the constitutional ban on abortion. Despite all the progress we’ve made, a woman’s right to choose still represents a Brave New World for Ireland, and many will fight tooth and nail to maintain its continuing inaccessibility.


Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:15 am, by

Most summers my sister and I were taken along to family reunions and also to cemetery meetings, where the family discussed the upkeep of a fenced-in plot of graves on a bald hilltop in a valley we’d peppered with ourselves since the 1800s at least. It seemed to me then that the chief purpose of these gatherings was to figure out how we were all related to one another, that if we could just figure it all out then we wouldn’t have to keep meeting this way, year after year, always on the hottest day of the summer.

Silence and Southern Men

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:14 am, by

This was an age of great social upheaval—desegregation and the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement, labor issues, the birth of the youth movement, a time when conversation might have opened on any number of relevant and important topics—but in my hometown in the American South, the region of the country known for its storytelling, men rarely said a word.

Astonishing Yankees

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:13 am, by

As a boy, I watched mothers of classmates spit on a crucifix held up by our parish priest as he attempted to lead a little black girl to a waiting car the day my Catholic school was integrated in New Orleans. But I witnessed incidents of racial prejudice that shocked me just as deeply in summer visits to my mother’s hometown of Brooklyn.

The Borderland

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:12 am, by

There are times this love, like all love, makes me feel stupid and ridiculous—giving a piece of my heart to a man born a lifetime ago a thousand miles away. I know what I look like. I know the sound of my voice. I know that a four-story walk-up is not a shotgun shack and the BQE is not the crossroads and that the Key to the Highway was never really mine.

Wherever the Four Winds Blow

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:11 am, by

Savannah native Johnny Mercer trafficked in the sui generis jazz, blues, and hillbilly sounds that he and other Southern diaspora entertainers took with them when escaping the drudgery of sharecropping cotton and its retainers for the brighter lights of northern and western cities.

The Problem of This Ghost

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:10 am, by

In Key West, I noticed the wild roosters in the palm trees, the seawall laced with purple algae, the dark, mountainous clouds that appeared before a storm. I noticed Florida. What a strange and troubled and occasionally magical place. What a place to have come from.

If I Leave Here Tomorrow

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:09 am, by

As the song reaches its frenzy—“Lord, I can’t change”—we are driving home with the windows down, pummelling the dashboard like a drum. My hair is flying across my face, and I can smell his cologne. His headlights land on the tawny body of a deer sprinting across the road. Everything inside me is wild, beautiful, beer-drenched.

On Being a Southern Writer

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:08 am, by

Being a Southern writer means my grandfather’s grandfather looking down on us from his portrait at the top of the stairs in my grandparents’ house. A stout and fierce man of sixty somehow buttoned into the Confederate uniform he’d worn in his twenties, which still lies folded in the cedar chest in the attic.

So There It Is

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:07 am, by

You see, here is a narrative nearness that approximates the closing in of landscape by hills and trees, and the closing in of space and night-sky and finality by the presence of ghost ancestors who perhaps are also trapped by the land, which is beautiful, unutterably beautiful, so it’s no wonder the dead aren’t leaving to go into that goddamned light.

The Story of Senator Henry S. Foote

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:06 am, by

Foote also happens to be my last name, and what the history books fail to mention is that my ancient relative was also the only senator in American history to draw a pistol on the Senate floor and attempt to shoot another politician.


Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:05 am, by

I see these signs, but I also see alligators and flamingos and cypress knees and Spanish moss, dolphins and palm fronds and pine cones the size of pumpkins. Even the clouds are bigger down here, as if the sky is closer to earth. Whether or not you believe in Him, God abides in the everyday of Southern life, not tucked away in churches and synagogues, saved for special occasions.

Audubon Park

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:04 am, by

There are the young women of Tulane and Loyola, yacking in pairs or jogging endlessly to shed the proverbial freshman fifteen. There are the dog walkers bearing wee plastic satchels of scooped shit to the nearest trash can. Love-sick couples catch a breath of air before repairing again to the bower. There are the scrawny skateboard dudes with more tattoos than they have years of school.

Southern Pastoral

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:03 am, by

I heard Barry Hannah tell a story one time about a writer from some Northern magazine come through Oxford, Mississippi, back in Barry’s drinking days. They were sitting there and nobody was saying anything, and Barry was staring at this fellow, who was getting kinda nervous, you understand, wondering what he was supposed to do and say, and after a long silence Barry just looked at him and said, “Whut the FUCK are you lookin’ at?”

The Walk

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:02 am, by

It’s the first sunny day in a week, warm, the kind of soft-focus, liquid air that makes me feel half-time and drowsy. Blots of color in yards along Lula Lake: purple crocus, yellow forsythia, green onion grass. Hudson yanks up a cluster and chucks it across the street, then smells his fingers. Will that grass make actual onions? he asks.

Offending the Authentic

Written on March 17, 2014 at 12:01 am, by

We lurch after the authentic, whether dictated by white-column worshippers or BBQ alchemists or blues hagiographers or poverty tourists, and flog with equal glee outsiders who dare to intellectually or physically invade the bounds of our territory and those insiders who don’t match an idea of authenticity that amounts to little more than commoditized regionalism.


Written on August 1, 2013 at 12:19 am, by

The writer, on his own authority, gets a few things wrong.
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Mark Morrisroe was a photographer and performance artist who grew up in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of a drug-addicted mother. He was a prostitute by the age of fifteen and was shot in the chest by a john at seventeen; the bullet remained lodged, too close to the spine to remove. His photography and performances epitomized the influence of queer punk in the art world in the 1980s and achieved a self-baring radical candor, like that of David Wojnarowicz, especially in his precipitous and fatal illness. He died in 1989.

Fairfield and Anne Porter had James Schuyler as a long-term guest rather than a housesitter, on and off for twelve years, although Schuyler periodically retreated without the Porters to one of their homes, at Great Spruce Head, Long Island. Freely Espousing, written during this time, was dedicated to the couple. After Fairfield Porter died, Anne Porter was one of the benefactors who set up “the Fund” that would afford Schuyler a moderately independent home life.

The fuller passage of the 1995 poem “Untitled [‘I always put my pussy’]” by Eileen Myles is: “I always …